EPIC is an innovative approach to pre-service teacher preparation that is part of the Elementary Teacher Education Program in the University of Colorado, Boulder's School of Education. EPIC is a long-standing university-community partnership, currently led by Professor Susan Jurow, that comprises a course on learning and social justice ("Educational Psychology for Elementary Schools" - EDUC 4411) and a linked after-school club at Alicia Sanchez International Elementary School in Lafayette, CO. The aims of this long-standing partnership are multiple: supporting learning opportunities for children from non-dominant communities, organizing teacher education for social justice, and cultivating new practices at the university and the elementary school that can facilitate more humanizing educational experiences.
At the EPIC after-school club, CU students learn side-by-side with elementary school students as they work on creative projects that enable children to develop their ideas and express their values through critical literacy practices, art, and play. Our pedagogical approach is founded upon the beliefs that adults and children are both learners and teachers, robust learning is grounded in people's lived cultural experiences, that both high and low technologies are valuable tools for sense-making, and that education is a practice of freedom (Freire, 1976). Read more about EPIC here.
The amazing EPIC team includes faculty, elementary school staff, doctoral students in Education and Computer Science, and undergraduate Learning Assistants. Working together, we have facilitated projects at the after-school club that have involved:
Studying and making murals focused on equity;
Investigating community problems through the method of youth participatory action research;
Developing and engaging in spoken word performances;
Creating child-designed video games;
Designing and making technologies to solve everyday problems; and,
Creating superheroes to address community issues and gadgets they can use to solve problems.
Through these long-term projects, children and pre-service teachers have developed new skills and dispositions related to understanding issues of social justice, storytelling, computational thinking, and community engagement.
Each year EPIC serves approximately 50 elementary students and 70 CU students. If you would like to get involved in EPIC, you can enroll in EDUC 4411, apply to be a Learning Assistant, or volunteer with us!
EPIC is supported through the University of Colorado, Boulder's School of Education, ATLAS Institute, CU Engage, the Learning Assistant Alliance, the Office of Outreach & Engagement, and the Family Resource Center at Alicia Sanchez International Elementary School.
Key Program Partners: A. Susan Jurow, School of Education Ben Shapiro, ATLAS Institute Jovita Schiffer, Alicia Sanchez International Elementary School
We will share more information about the program soon.